Photo: Belmont Public School Administration Building.
The byword for the Belmont School District on the expanding coronavirus epidemic is caution.
A female staffer who self-quarantined on Wednesday after returning from a conference in Italy over February break will return to work on Monday, March 9, according to an email from the Belmont School District.
Italy has by far the most cases of the coronavirus in Europe with nearly 4,000 cases and 148 deaths as of Friday, March 6.
Belmont School District Superintendent John Phelan said the staff member, who works at the Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School, placed herself in seclusion on March 4 after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance that day asking people to self-quarantine if they have travelled to China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea.
“Once the CDC guidance was updated Wednesday, the staff member who had travelled to Italy self-quarantined, despite the fact there are no symptoms of illness showing,” said Phelan.
“Given this staff member’s return from Italy was on Sunday, February 23, the staff member will return to work on Monday, March 9, as this will represent the expiration of the two week quarantine period,” noted Phelan.
Belmont is just one of several eastern Massachusetts school districts in which educators and staffers have self-quarantined, including Watertown and Beverly.
Belmont High School students were informed this past week that planned school trips during the April break to Spain and China have been cancelled due to the virus. Spain has about 260 cases and 3 deaths while China has been the epicenter of the virus with nearly 81,000 with the virus and 3,045 deaths.
As Belmont schools are where the largest concentration of people congregate during the work week, the district have begun disinfecting and sanitizing high-touch surfaces in the district’s six schools with hospital-grade equipment.
“As you know this is the season for the common flu and our efforts will help reduce the spread of a number of problematic pathogens,” said Phelan.
Earlier this week, Belmont Health Director Wesley Chin said there was a low risk of Belmont residents catching the virus.
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